At the beginning of August we adopted a dog from a great animal shelter in SoHo called Animal Haven. Our pooch, or “the roocher” as we affectionately call her is just around one year old, weighs in at 13 pounds, and is a white fluffy ball of energy. She’s definitely a mutt, but we’re almost positive she has poodle in her. As for the mix, we’ve heard Bichon and Maletese the most. We kept the name that Animal Haven gave her, Lainie. When I first when to Animal Haven to ask about adoption, they let me know that a puppy had just arrived who fit my bill perfectly. When Lainie came down the stairs she bolted in my direction, gave me plenty of kisses, and ultimately fell submissively to her back for some nice belly rubs. I let Joey know how sweet she was and after he got to meet her we decided to go for it. She’s fabulous around children and other dogs, and is obsessed – read, OBSESSED – with people. She struggles with some separation anxiety, but has improved tremendously since we got her. We only help that the issue will get easier as she grows older. And while she is definitely in her mischievous teenage years, our schedules are quickly adapting to having a dog and we couldn’t be happier to have Lainie in our fold.

Some thoughts on bringing a new adopted puppy home:

  • It may be hair pulling difficult at first. Tears may be shed. Sleep may be lost.
  • Seriously, we really struggled at first. We tried to do everything right, which seemed impossible. It is. She’s a dog, not a baby! Who knew it’d be so difficult! Go with the flow, but most importantly listen to your dog and trust your gut.
  • Crate train. We *almost* gave up on this after Lainie showed signs of great distress upon being left in her crate. With care and patience we all pulled through and we are so glad that we did. Now we can leave Lainie at home or overnight in her crate and not worry that she is unsafe.
  • Put a lot of time into the dog at first, and then take a break. It took us so much effort to get Lainie acclimated to our home that we needed a break once we had the basics – read potty training, sleeping, and being left alone – covered. We plan to start puppy classes with Lainie in the coming weeks, but it’s done us all some good to take a break from training and just enjoy each others’s company. Who cares if she can’t sit on command? For now…
  • Budget your initial costs. Now multiply by about five. We knew that having a dog would be expensive, but we didn’t quite realize just how many initial costs their would be. When Lainie came to us she had an ear infection and she still struggles with allergies and requires prescription food. Additionally, some products that we could not do without:
    • Natures Miracle Advance Stain and Odor Remover. Buy the spray bottle, and then buy in bulk.
    • Bitter Apple. I remember my mom using this on our dogs when we were growing up. I haven’t used much of this, but I’m also glad it’s there when I need it.
    •  HARD PLASTIC CRATE. There are many brands and types of crates. In NYC people tend to purchase wire crates. We did this and really regretted it. Just a week in I purchased a hard plastic crate and it changed our life. The dog felt MUCH more safe and secure in the hard plastic crate (even though I had been covering the wire crate to attempt a similar dark and cozy effect). Additionally, they’re much lighter and more portable. We’ve taken ours on the bus upstate, and in the car for day trips. Well worth the investment.
    • We got a fabulous crate mat that keeps the dog dry if she has an accident in the crate and makes clean up really easy – and now I don’t know where I got it or who makes it! ARGH!
    • A leather collar and leash. We went through three nylon ones before I realized that they weren’t a sustainable option for us. The leather one is worth the investment.
    • Call me crazy, but I think the dog needs a coat for winter. We ordered this one and love it.
    • These four toys are her favorite.

Some things we’d like to try:

  • Pawz dog boots for the rain.
  • Mushers for the snow.
  • Annamaet food to help her allergies.
  • These eye pads. We’ve yet to find our favorite.
  • Anyone know of a good all nature sensitive skin soap free dog shampoo?

I loved checking out The Daily Muse Blog‘s fabulous photos of her adorable dog in Manhattan for early inspiration. Any other tips from you experienced pet owners out there?